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Spirit-Centered Moment: by Linda Babcock

A Reflection based on Luke 23: 33-34

Written by Linda Babcock

Synod Council Representative and Member of Lutheran Church of the Resurrection

Granite Bay, CA

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

When I read and hear the news today, I cringe at the uncivilized, hate-filled language. At the mass shootings. I despair at the violence taking place in our country. His words remind me that people can say and do terrible things, but still need the compassion we can offer through forgiveness. I can’t get my heart around this call of the Holy Spirit.

This is from a psalm by Homero R. Perera: “Violence and hatred, near and far, terror, slaughter, war: forgive us Lord…. Help us grasp how this is our sin; teach us, save us by your cross.”

It is easy to ignore, despair or dismiss these angry people. It is even harder to understand their crimes against innocent people, some even randomly chosen. My forgiveness will not help them live with their unhappy lives. I cannot heal them. It won’t affect help these strangers who live far away. Jesus is asking me to do the hard thing.

But, there is more to forgiveness. The Holy Spirit’s call can act as a force to focus our energy on what’s really important. Jesus offers salvation to all people. It’s important we strive to value others. We can learn from diverse and opposing perspectives when we treat all people with dignity.

The Spirit’s call to forgive will help us release our anger and despair. Let’s be thankful we have a flexible mind that allows us to see this to help us grow and learn. Let’s strive to make a difference , advocate for more mental health, be kind, tip the scale a little.

God is with them. He is waiting for us to catch up.

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